No. 1 Baseball Opens Pac-10 Play With No. 6 Stanford This Weekend
March 21, 2003
ASU Baseball Links:
College Baseball Links:
Probable Starting Rotation:
Mar. 22 vs. Stanford, 7 p.m. MST
STAN - John Hudgins, RHP (4-1, 3.35 ERA)
ASU - Erik Averill, LHP (6-0, 1.98 ERA)
Mar. 23 vs. Stanford, 1 p.m. MST
STAN - Ryan McCally, RHP (3-1, 4.08 ERA)
ASU - Jered Liebeck, RHP (6-0, 2.40 ERA)
Mar. 24 vs. Stanford, 4:30 p.m. MST
STAN - TBA
ASU - Ben Thurmond, RHP (3-0, 3.41 ERA)
The National Rankings:
Arizona State (31-3) is ranked in all four national polls and is the No. 1 team in the nation by Sports Weekly/ESPN and Collegiate Baseball. ASU is also No. 3 in the Baseball America. The Sun Devils have now been ranked in the national polls for 66 consecutive polls. The last time ASU was No. 1 was heading into the CWS in 1993. Stanford (14-7) is ranked as high as No. 6 in the nation by USA Today and No. 7 by Baseball America.
All three games vs. Stanford will be broadcast live on the Sun Devil Sports Network on NBC 1190 AM. Longtime ASU Baseball PA announcer and the current courtside voice of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Phoenix Suns, Jeff Munn, will fill in this weekend with Bob Eger to call all the action from the Packard Stadium press box. Saturday's and Sunday's games will also be broadcast live on KAZ-TV with George Allen and Doug Gerlach handling the play-by-play duties. All games during the 2003 season are also available via the GameTracker feature on www.TheSunDevils.com.
Two of the nation's premier college baseball programs will square off this weekend in a three-game series to open the 2003 Pac-10 season. Stanford (14-7) and Arizona State (31-3) are both ranked in the top 10 in each of the four national polls. The all-time series between the schools is also tied at 76-76. The Sun Devils lead the Pac-10 in nearly every offensive category, featuring the league's top two hitters in Jeff Larish (.420-11-58) and Dustin Pedroia (.433-2-26). ASU has also been stellar on the mound with a staff ERA of 3.06.
Consecutive Games Scoring Streak Reaches 467:
The Arizona State baseball program has now scored in an NCAA record 467 consecutive games dating back to the 1995 season. The Devils made history on April 7, 2001 when they scored at least one run in their 350th consecutive game. The Devils broke the 12-year-old NCAA record in a 5-1 loss to USC exactly six years to the day when they were last shut out. ASU was shut out 9-0 in that game on April 7, 1995 at Dedeaux Field. The one run scored in the 3-1 loss to Stanford (4/12/02) marked only the 13th time during the streak that ASU has scored only one run. Coastal Carolina previously held the NCAA record at 349 games set from 1983-1989. ASU also had a stretch of 278 games without being shut out from 1990 to 1994, meaning the program has only been shutout in three games dating back to the 1990 season. ASU is a combined 310-156-1 during the streak. Notable pitchers the Devils have faced during the streak include Jeremy Guthrie (Stanford), Barry Zito (USC), Kirk Saarloos (CS Fullerton), Jason Young (Stanford), Ben Diggins (Arizona), Adam Johnson (CS Fullerton), Ryan Drese (Cal), Jeff Weaver (Fresno State), Chad Hutchinson (Stanford), Abe Alvarez and Adam Pettyjohn (Fresno State).
Sun Devils Remain No. 1 in National Polls:
Already past the midway point in the 2003 season with a blistering 31-3 record and winners of 22 of its last 24 games, the Arizona State Sun Devils remained No. 1 in the Collegiate Baseball and Sports Weekly/ESPN national polls this week. ASU received 995 votes and 21 first-place votes in the poll to retain the No. 1 position in the coaches poll after going 2-1 vs. Oklahoma. Baseball America and NCBWA rank ASU No. 3. ASU was last ranked No. 1 heading into the 1993 College World Series. ASU has been ranked for 65 consecutive national polls dating back to the start of the 2000 season. The Sun Devils entered the 2003 season ranked as high as No. 8 in the nation by Baseball America in the preseason collegiate polls. Arizona State also earned a preseason No. 9 ranking by Sports Weekly/ESPN, No .10 by NCBWA and No. 12 ranking by Collegiate Baseball. The No. 8 preseason ranking is the highest by an ASU squad since opening the 2001 season as the consensus No. 6 team in the nation.
Stanford (14-7, 0-0) returns to the field for the first time after taking 12 days off for final exams ... The Cardinal ended its pre-break schedule on a five-game win streak and has won 11 of its last 13 games overall ... The Cardinal has also won four straight series versus Fresno State (sweep), Texas (2-of-3), USC (2-of-3) and California (sweep) after dropping back-to-back series versus Cal State Fullerton (sweep) and Florida State (2-of-3) ... Stanford is ranked No. 7 in the latest Baseball America poll ... Stanford is also among the nation's top seven teams in each of the other three major collegiate baseball polls (No. 6 Sports Weekly/ESPN; No. 7 NCBWA; No. 7 Collegiate Baseball) ... Stanford has raised its team batting average to .314 (#3 Pac-10) by reaching double figures in hits in each of its last five games ... Stanford has also posted a 3.96 ERA (#3 Pac-10) and has a .968 fielding percentage (#4 Pac-10) through its first 21 contests ... The Stanford pitching staff has held its opponents to a Pac-10 low .235 batting average and 103 runs (tied for the least in the Pac-10, while recording nine saves... Stanford is looking to extend its school record of consecutive appearances at the College World Series to five.
Last Year vs. Stanford:
Stanford took two of three from the Sun Devils at Sunken Diamond last year (5/10-12) to even the all-time series at 76-76. The Cardinal won both games by two runs, with future first-round draft choice Jeremy Guthrie leading Stanford to a 5-3 win in the series opener. ASU rebounded with a 10-2 in Saturday's game, but then fell 3-1 in the finale. Senior infielder Sergio Garcia went 3-for-5 with a solo home run to preserve ASU's NCAA consecutive games scoring streak. Jeff Larish also had a solid series hitting .417 (5-for-12) with a triple and home run.
Last Time vs. Stanford at Packard Stadium:
The Sun Devils hosted Stanford in back-to-back years in 2000 and 2001 at Packard Stadium. ASU won the Pac-10 series against the Cardinal en route to the Pac-10 Championship in 2000 by taking two of three in 2000. Stanford won the opener 5-1, before ASU took the next two against the No. 2 Cardinal 10-6 and 11-6. Stanford returned the favor in 2001 winning two of three while ranked No. 1 in the country. They won the first two games of the series (6-2, 5-2) before ASU picked up the finale (6-5).
Home Run Notes:
Through 34 games of the 2003 season the Sun Devils have already surpassed their entire season total from 2002 with 40 home runs. ASU has hit 28 of those home runs at Packard Stadium and 12 in its 12 road or neutral site games. Of the 22 games played at Packard Stadium the Devils have hit at least one home run in 15 games. A total of 12 different players have hit at least one home run (Mike Guerrero added to list vs. Penn State) and seven players have two or more home runs. Sophomore Jeff Larish leads the way with 11 round-trippers, including three grand slams. The Devils have homered in 22 of their 34 games, including 12 multi-home run games. The Devils also have eight grand slams on the season with Larish (3), Steve Garrabrants (2), Jeremy West and freshmen Ryan Bosch and Travis Buck all leaving the yard with the bases loaded. ASU had only one grand slam in 2002 and four in 2001. ASU has not hit a home run in the last four games.
Pedroia On Fire at the Plate and in the Field:
Sophomore shortstop Dustin Pedroia (Woodland, Calif.) has been the spark plug to ASU's early season success and an integral part to ASU's 31-3 record. ASU's only player to play and start in all 34 games, Pedroia leads the Pac-10 in hitting at .433 (61x141) with 21 doubles and 26 RBI. He has also recorded 22 multi-hit games to pace the ASU offense and has ignited several ASU scoring rallies as is evident by his .540 (34x63) average as a leadoff hitter (inning and game). In a rare performance, Pedroia went 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in ASU's 4-2 win over LBSU (2/2) to have his career-long 22-game hitting streak come to a halt. The streak, which spanned 11 games each at the end of 2002 and 11 games to begin 2003, fell just two games off the top six in ASU Baseball history. It is the longest streak since current Houston Astros prospect Brooks Conrad had a 21-game streak in 2000. During the streak Pedroia combined to hit .390 (41x105). Dating back to the end of the 2002 season, He also recently had another 17-game hitting streak come to an end. Pedroia now has a hit in 43 of his last 45 games, including hits in all but two games this year (32 of 34). In his two years as a Sun Devil he already has 143 hits, 34 of which are doubles, and has never missed a start in 92 consecutive games. In the field Pedroia has also been the rock to ASU's solid .972 team fielding percentage. The slick fielding shortstop has committed only four errors in 155 total chances for a .974 fielding percentage.
The Jeff Larish Watch:
Sophomore first baseman Jeff Larish has quickly put his name atop the list of as a top candidate for national player of the year and the Golden Spikes Award in 2003. Although he missed three games in the last week with back spasms, Larish is expected back in the lineup this weekend for the Stanford series. Larish has recorded at least one hit in 26 of 32 games and one RBI in 25 of 31 games this year and leads the Pac-10 in several offensive categories. He is hitting .420 (42x100) with 11 home runs and eight doubles. He has a Pac-10 best 58 RBI (1.87 per game average) and his 11 home runs are tied for the league lead with USC freshman slugger Jeff Clement. He also leads the conference with 43 walks (1.39 per game) and has an unbelievable on-base percentage of .584. Despite his injury over the weekend Larish still hit .333 (2-for-6) in limited action vs. Oklahoma and Wichita State. For the season he is slugging .870 and is second on the team with 21 extra base hits. He had connected on three grand slams this year, already tying the single-season school record set by Dave Hudgens in 1977. In addition, he is batting .769 (10x13) with the bases loaded and leads the team with 22 two-out RBI. Larish, who was supposed to redshirt in 2002 but played midway through the season, has already surpassed his entire total of doubles, home runs and RBI from last year when he played in 34 games. Drafted in the 32nd round in 2001 by the Chicago Cubs, Larish etched his named in the ASU record books with a memorable game in the series finale vs. San Diego State (1/26). In what turned out to be a 24-9 ASU route, Larish was 3-for-4 and tied the school single-game record with nine RBI. He had a two-run single in the first inning, a two-run home run in the third, a grand slam homer in the fourth and then tied the 13-year-old school record (Tommy Adams) by walking with the bases loaded in the eighth. He also has a current seven-game hitting streak in which he is hitting .417 (10x24) with 10 RBI.
Sun Devils Hot at the Plate:
The Sun Devils have been torrid at the plate this year leading the Pac-10 in hitting with a .355 team batting average. Three players are hitting over .400 and only one regular player (45 or more at-bats) is hitting below .300. The team has recorded 10 or more hits in 26 of 34 games and has scored in double digits in 19 games. Overall the offense is averaging 10.65 runs, 12.44 hits and 4.26 extra base hits per game. The team also has a .464 on-base percentage and a .554 slugging percentage.
Travis Buck Hits For The Cycle:
Freshman outfielder Travis Buck went 5-for-5 with even RBI and hit for the cycle in ASU's 19-0 win over Southern Utah (3/7). He became only the seventh Sun Devil in recorded history to record the elusive cycle and became the first freshman in Pac-10 history to hit for the cycle. Buck capped his perfect night with a grand slam home run as part of an eight-run sixth inning to become ASU's first player to hit for the cycle since Mitch Jones on May 21, 2000 at Arizona. Buck, ASU's normal starting left fielder who was making only his second start in right field, had a single in the first, a double in the third and a triple in the fifth before connecting on his second home run of the year for the cycle. He also added a run-scoring single in the fourth and tied a career high with two stolen bases. Below is a list of ASU player who have hit for the cycle:
Travis Buck March 7, 2003 vs. Southern UtahMitch Jones May 21, 2000 vs. ArizonaDan McKinley April 1, 1997 vs. Grand CanyonAntone Williamson May 27, 1993 vs. George MasonKevin Higgins May 1, 1988 vs. UCLATodd Brown March 18, 1984 vs. USCPaul Ray Powell March 21, 1969 vs. Michigan
Senior Dennis Wyrick Lights Up Pac-10 Pitching:
Senior 3B Dennis Wyrick has been ASU's starting third baseman against left-handed pitchers this year and has had been one of ASU's hottest hitters as of late. Wyrick is hitting .394 (26-for-66) on the year with four doubles, one home run and 14 RBI. Wyrick has a hit in seven of his last eight games and is hitting .462 (12-for-26). About to enter his fourth season of Pac-10 play, Wyrick has had great success at the plate in league play. Wyrick is a career .371 (56-for-151) hitter in Pac-10 play dating back to his freshman season of 2000.
Averill and Liebeck Lead Pac-10 With Six Wins Each:
Freshman left-hander Erik Averill and senior right-hander Jered Liebeck are tied for the Pac-10 lead with six wins each. Averill, who will start Saturday to open the Stanford series, is 6-0 with a 1.98 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 41.0 innings. Liebeck, who is scheduled to start Sunday vs. the Cardinal, is also 6-0 with a 2.40 ERA.
Schroyer Ranks Fifth in ASU History With 14 Career Saves:
Junior closer Ryan Schroyer has been all but unstoppable in 2003 out of the bullpen. The hard-throwing right-hander is 3-0 with six saves this year and has a 0.00 ERA not allowing an earned run to score in his 17.1 innings pitched. The preseason All-American has scattered 12 hits (11 singles and one double) in his 14 outings and has struck out 24 batters (12.50 per game 9.0 IP). His longest outing of the year came with a three-innings save against Notre Dame (2/23) where he allowed only three hits and struck out three. He added his sixth save of the year by striking out the side in the ninth vs. Utah (3/8) to preserve ASU's 6-4 come-from-behind win. The save moved him into fifth place in the ASU career record books with his 14th career save. Including his summer All-American season with the NBC World Series Champion Alaska Goldpanners, Schroyer is 4-0 with 13 saves and a 0.00 ERA in his last 35.1 IP (59 K's). After recording eight (8) as the league's top pitcher (2.37 ERA) in 2002, Schroyer is looking to continue to move up the charts. Here is a look at ASU's top save leaders in school history:
ASU's Career Saves Leaders: 1. Doug Nurnberg, 1965-67 25 2. Kevin Dukes, 1978-81 20 3. Noah Peery, 1993-94 17 4. Ryan Bradley, 1995-97 16 5. Ryan Schroyer, 2001-P 14 6. Dave Graybill, 1982-84 13 7. Mitch Dean, 1976-80 11 8. Eric Doble, 1999-2001 10
Pitching To Near Perfection:
A big reason behind ASU's stellar 31-3 start is because of the Chris Sinacori led pitching staff. Through 34 games the pitchers have combined for a Pac-10 best 3.06 ERA while striking out 284 and walking 108. On 18 different occasions the staff has combined to walk three or less batters, including not allowing a walk in two games. ASU's pitchers have also combined to strike out eight or more batters in 20 games, including a season-high 16 vs. Utah (3/8). The starters have been especially hot, combining to go 17-1 with a 2.72 ERA, while the relievers are 14-2 with six saves and a 3.41 ERA. Seniors Jered Liebeck and freshman lefty Erik Averill lead the team with six wins each.
Bullpen Tears Up The Competition:
The ASU bullpen has been nearly unstoppable as of late combining to allow only four earned runs in the last nine outings and 39.2 innings (0.91 ERA). Junior closer Ryan Schroyer leads the team with a 0.00 ERA in 17.1 innings, while Beau Vaughan and Robbie McClellan each have three wins out of the bullpen. The relievers have also been clutch when inheriting runners, allowing only 27 of 68 to score (40%).
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